5 good spots to launch your watercraft

Our main location in Jerry’s Docks/Harbor Yards, where we’ve been since we opened, is located on private property which doesn’t allow us to launch personal watercraft. We are all about safety however, and would never separate one person from another or a couple people from a group of people renting kayaks from us. If you would like to launch your own watercraft with your paddling partner or group of people renting from us, please call or send us a text and we will make a note in their reservation that someone will be launching their own kayak/paddleboard. It just helps with communication on all levels, thanks!

Our additional weekend location at Schlitz Park is a public launch and you can launch from our dock or from their new dock (just upriver, very close to our dock) located near The Tapyard, which is a larger and longer dock providing more space.

Below is a list of many nice public launches. The first four listed are close to our main location. The Kiwanis Boat Launch is closer to our Schlitz Park location. For a complete list, please visit the Milwaukee Urban Water Trail Map located on the Milwaukee Riverkeeper website.


Marine Terminal Lofts – Milwaukee River across from our main location
Directly across from our main location dock on the corner of Erie and the Broadway Street Bridge. Park on the street, walk to the river and look down. You’ll see a dock and a small black kayak launch. Sometimes the gate is locked and sometimes the kayak launch has been removed so please don’t count on this launch but know that it’s there. You can always give us a call to see if we know the status.

Between Hansen’s Landing & Harbor Point Condos – Milwaukee River across and just downriver from MKC
This is a good and close option. It’s located just downriver and across from our main location. This public dock is between Hansen’s Landing and Harbor Point Condos in the Third Ward on Erie Street. Parking is available on the street. This dock is very convenient and is a nice low dock with public access. The closest intersection is E. Polk Street and E. Erie Street – walk down to the river, between the buildings and you’ll see the public launch.

Riverfront Boat Launch – Milwaukee River/Milwaukee Harbor
Another close public launch is the Riverfront Boat Launch at the end of Bruce Street a few blocks down river from MKC directly in line with the Hoan Bridge. There may be a fee to launch from this spot. Please note that this launch can get busy with motorized boats, especially on the weekends. Closest intersection is Bruce Street and South Water Street. Address: 600 S. Water St, Milwaukee, WI 53204

Harbor View Plaza – Milwaukee Harbor
Located at the east end of Greenfield Avenue in front of the UWM School of Freshwater Sciences. Very kayak friendly dock, just make sure you’re prepared for the weather as it is located in the inner harbor which can be very windy at times.

Emmber Lane – Menomonee River
The Emmber Lane kayak launch on the Menomonee River is a great place to launch your kayak or canoe. The launch is very close to Keep Greater Milwaukee Beautiful‘s office. Closest intersection is Emmber Lane and Mt. Vernon Avenue on the Menomonee River – launch is on the northwest corner of the bridge.

Kiwanis Landing Boat Launch – Milwaukee River
One of the best places to launch your kayak or canoe is the new Kiwanis Landing Boat Launch near the River Revitalization Foundation offices located on the Milwaukee River near the Humboldt Street bridge. This is very close to the old North Avenue dam. Closest intersection is Humboldt Avenue and Riverboat Road.

Pere Marquette Park – Milwaukee River
Pere Marquette has a public dock located in the heart of downtown Milwaukee. Due to the lower water levels, this dock may be harder for some people. You will have to park, unload your kayak and then find a parking spot on the street. There are parking structures close by too. This launch is located off N. Old World 3rd Street between W. Kilbourn Avenue and W. State Street. Address: 900 N. Plankinton Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53203

Please call or text with any questions. – Beth @ MKC

MKC is owned and operated by Beth Handle, who grew up on the north side of Milwaukee. Beth is active in our community and is on the Board of Directors for Milwaukee Riverkeeper and Milwaukee Riverwalk.